web analytics
April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Sudan’

Why Expanded Government Spying Doesn’t Mean Better Security

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

What is most important to understand about the revelations of massive message interception by the U.S. government is this:

In counterterrorist terms, it is a farce.

There is a fallacy behind the current intelligence strategy of the United States, the collection of massive amounts of phone calls, emails, and even credit card expenditures, up to 3 billion phone calls a day alone, not to mention the government spying on the mass media. It is this:

The more quantity of intelligence, the better it is for preventing terrorism.

In the real, practical world this is—though it might seem counterintuitive—untrue. You don’t need–to put it in an exaggerated way–an atomic bomb against a flea. And isn’t it absurd that the United States can’t finish a simple border fence to keep out potential terrorists, can’t stop a would-be terrorist in the U.S. army who gives a power point presentation on why he is about to shoot people (Major Nadal Hassan), can’t follow up on Russian intelligence warnings about Chechen terrorist contacts (the Boston bombing), or a dozen similar incidents must now collect every telephone call in the country? A system in which a photo shop clerk has to stop an attack on Fort Dix by overcoming his fear of appearing “racist” to report a cell of terrorists or brave passengers must jump a would-be “underpants bomber” from Nigeria because his own father’s warning that he was a terrorist was insufficient?

And how about a country where terrorists and terrorist supporters visit the White House, hang out with the FBI, advise the U.S. government on counter-terrorist policy (even while, like CAIR) advising Muslims not to cooperate with law enforcement, and are admiringly quoted in the media yet a documented, detailed  revelation of this behavior in MERIA Journal by Patrick Poole, which should bring down the government, “Blind to Terror: The U.S. Government’s Disastrous Muslim Outreach Efforts and the Impact on U.S. Middle East Policy.” does not get covered by a single mass media outlet?
Imagine this scene:
 
“Sir, we have a telephone call about a potential terrorist attack!”
 
“Not now, Smithers, I’m giving a tour of our facility to some supporters of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.” 

Or how about the time when the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem had a (previously jailed) Hamas agent working in their motor pool with direct access to the vehicles and itineraries of all visiting US dignitaries and senior officials.
 
Instead of this kind of thing the two key tasks of counterterrorism are as follows:

First, it is not the quantity of material that counts but the need to locate and correctly understand the most vital material. This requires your security forces to understand the ideological, psychological, and organizational nature of the threat.

Second, it is necessary to be ready to act on this information not only in strategic but in political terms.

For example, suppose the U.S. ambassador to Libya warns that the American compound there may be attacked. No response. Then he tells the deputy chief of mission that he is under attack. No response. Then the U.S. military is not allowed to respond. Then the president goes to sleep without making a decision about doing anything because communications break down between the secretaries of defense and state and the president, who goes to sleep because he has a very important fund-raiser the next day. But don’t worry because three billion telephone calls by Americans are daily being intercepted and supposedly analyzed.

In other words, you have a massive counterterrorist project costing $1 trillion but when it comes down to it the thing repeatedly fails. In that case, to quote the former secretary of state, “”What difference does it  make?”

If one looks at the great intelligence failures of the past, these two points quickly become obvious. Take for example the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. U.S. naval intelligence had broken Japanese codes. They had the information needed to conclude the attack would take place. Yet a focus on the key to the problem was not achieved. The important messages were not read and interpreted; the strategic mindset of the leadership was not in place.

Or, in another situation, the plan of Nazi Germany to invade   the USSR in 1941 or of the time and place of the Allied invasion of Normandy beach in 1944 was not assessed properly, with devastating results. Of course, the techniques were more primitive then, but so were the means of concealment.

For instance, the Czech intelligence services, using railroad workers as informants, knew about a big build-up for a German offensive against the USSR. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin overrode the warnings. Soviet analysts predicting a Nazi invasion were punished. Nothing would have changed if more material was collected.

So what needs to be in place, again, is to focus on the highest priority material, to analyze correctly what is available, to have leaders accept it, and to act. If the U.S. government can’t even figure out what the Muslim Brotherhood is like or the dangers of supporting Islamists to take over Syria, or the fact that the Turkish regime is an American enemy, or can’t even teach military officers who the enemy is, what’s it going to do with scores of billions of telephone call traffic to overcome terrorism? It isn’t even using the intelligence material is already has!

If, however, the material is almost limitless, that actually weakens a focus on the most needed intelligence regarding the most likely terrorist threats. Imagine, for example, going through billions of telephone calls even with high-speed computers rather than, say, following up a tip from Russian intelligence on a young Chechen man in Boston who is in contact with terrorists or, for instance, the communications between a Yemeni al-Qaida leader and a U.S. army major who is assigned as a psychiatrist to Fort Hood.

That is why the old system of getting warrants, focusing on individual email addresses, or sites, or telephones makes sense, at least if it is only used properly. Then those people who are communicating with known terrorists can be traced further. There are no technological magic spells. If analysts are incompetent, blocked from understanding the relationship between Islam and terrorism, bound up by Political Correctness and fear of career costs, and leaders unwilling to take proper action, who cares how much data was collected?

At a time when American leaders and the social atmosphere are discouraging citizens from reporting potential terrorism (the photo store clerk; the flight school instructor back before September 11, the brave passengers who jumped a hijacker and then had to worry about lawsuits because they violated someone’s civil rights, the attempts to take away guns that wouldn’t stop terrorists), why is a giant facility in Utah going to do a better job?

Decision-makers and intelligence analysts only have so many hours in the day. There can only be so many meetings; only so many priorities. And the policymaking pyramid narrows rapidly toward the top. There is a point of diminishing returns for the size of an intelligence bureaucracy. Lower-priority tasks proliferate; too much paper is generated and meetings are held; the system clogs when it has too much data.

Note the parallelism between this broader terrorism policy and the current philosophy of airport security. In both cases, everyone is considered equally suspect. Profiling is minimized. Instead of focusing on the, let’s say one hundred of those who might be of special interest, a great deal of time, attention, and resources has been spent on ten million others. This has got to reduce effectiveness.

The increased costs of security, Obama has told us, amounts to a cost of $1 trillion. Of course, people would say that such money was well spent. Yet in security as in every other aspect of government, money can be spent well or badly, even counterproductively.

Al-Qaida is even saying openly that it is switching to a strategy of encouraging isolated attacks. Within 24 hours a British soldier is murdered on a street in London after he seeks and fails to obtain terrorist training in Somalia, and a French soldier is attacked. In Toulouse, France, a terrorist kills or cripples soldiers and Jewish schoolchildren. There are dozens of examples.

Vast amounts of money and resources, though, are being spent in preparing for an exact reply of September 11.
And remember that the number of terrorists caught by the TSA hovers around the zero level. The shoe, underpants, and Times Square bombers weren’t even caught by security at all and many other such cases can be listed. In addition to this, the U.S.-Mexico border is practically open.

The ultimate problem is that the number of terrorists is very low and the fact is that for anyone who isn’t insane their characteristics are pretty clear, that is they are about 99 percent revolutionary and violent Islamists.
Obama has now admitted three very important things.

First, the war on terrorism has not been won.

Second, the war on al-Qaida has not really been won, since its continued campaigning is undeniable and it has even grown in Syria, partly thanks to U.S. policy.

Third, the biggest threat on the American homeland is autonomous terrorists who have been inspired by al-Qaida but are not technically part of the nomination. (That allows Obama to claim to be winning the war on al-Qaida).
What he has not yet admitted is that the Muslim Brotherhood and other terrorist groups or sponsors are controlling Egypt, Tunisia, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Turkey, Sudan, Syria, and Iran, while terrorists run free in the Palestinian Authority, Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, is not conducive to the protection of America against terrorism. The fact that his policy promotes some of these problems makes things even worse.

Yet the new, expensive, expansive, and time-consuming technological methods are relatively ineffective against the current priorities of anti-American terrorist groups.

Incidentally, Obama policy has been disastrous against a four factor, radical Islamists—though not al-Qaida taking over places. Compared to the time Obama came to office, the Islamists who support violence against America now rule Egypt, Tunisia, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, and perhaps soon Syria. Offenses have been stepped up in Somalia, Yemen; are being maintained in Iraq; and of course still rule over Syria and Iran. In Turkey, an Islamist terror-supporting regime has been embraced by Obama.

This represents a massive retreat even if it is a largely unnoticed one.

So the problem of growing government spying is three-fold.

–First, it is against the American system and reduces liberty.

–Second, it is a misapplication of resources, in other words money is being spent and liberty sacrificed for no real gain.

–Third, since government decisionmaking and policy about international terrorism is very bad the threat is increasing.

If you don’t get value for money or enhanced security while freedom is being reduced and the enemy is getting stronger it certainly isn’t a bargain.

Report: Muslim Countries ‘Worst Violators of Religious Freedom’

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Ten out of the 15 countries with the worst religious freedom abuses are Muslim, according to the recently released U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) 2013 Annual Report identifying the status of religious freedom throughout the world, and citing countries that are the least tolerant of religious freedom.

IRFA requires the President of the United States, who has delegated this authority to the Secretary of State, to designate as “countries of particular concern,” or CPCs, those governments that have engaged in or tolerated “particularly severe” violations of religious freedom.

IRFA defines “particularly severe” violations as ones that are “systematic, ongoing, and egregious,” including acts such as torture, prolonged detention without charges, disappearances, or “other flagrant denial[s] of the right to life, liberty, or the security of persons.”

After a country is designated a CPC, the President is required by law to take action to remedy the situation, or to invoke a waiver if circumstances warrant (As the late JFK put it: He may be an SOB, but he’s our SOB).

For the 2013 Annual Report, USCIRF recommends that the Secretary of State re-designate the following eight countries as CPCs: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan.

USCIRF also finds that seven other countries meet the CPC threshold and should be so designated: Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.

USCIRF also places countries on its Tier 2 list, where the country is on the threshold of a CPC status, meaning that the violations engaged in or tolerated by the government are particularly severe and that at least one, but not all three, of the elements of the “systematic, ongoing, egregious” standard is met.

The Tier 2 designation provides advance warning of negative trends that could develop into severe violations of religious freedom, thereby giving policymakers an opportunity to engage early and increasing the likelihood of preventing or diminishing the violations. USCIRF has concluded that the following eight countries meet the Tier 2 standard in this reporting period: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Laos, and Russia.

But not to worry – the State Department has issued indefinite waivers on taking any action against Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia. As a result of these waivers, the United States has not implemented any policy response tied to the CPC designation for either country.

Gives a whole new meaning to the slogan “Freedom must be earned.”

In Egypt, the government has failed to protect Coptic Christians, who comprise 10 percent of the country’s 90 million people. The Copts have been tortured and killed and individuals continue to be prosecuted, convicted, and imprisoned for “contempt” or “defamation” of religion (Islam).

Somebody should start boycotting Egyptian products…

In Iran, religious freedom for minorities has deteriorated over the last year, a bad year for the Baha’is, Christians, and Sufi Muslims. The Report details that, “physical attacks, harassment, detention, arrests, and imprisonment” intensified.

Jews, Armenian and Assyrian Christians, and Zoroastrians have faced harassment, intimidation, discrimination, arrests, and imprisonment. Anyone who has dissented against the government, a theocratic republic, including Majority Shi’i and minority Sunni Muslims, have been intimidated, harassed, and detained. Several dissidents and human rights defenders have been sentenced to death and executed for “waging war against God.”

Human sacrifice, that must be their god’s favorite pastime.

Report: Israel Spotted Iranian Boat with Rockets for Gaza

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

The Sunday Times reported that Israeli spy satellites detected an Iranian ship loaded with rockets. According to the report, intelligence experts estimated that the shipment was intended to reach Gaza through the Red Sea, Sudan and Egypt.

The cargo was prepared for loading last week, at the time when Israel and the Hamas were negotiating the ceasefire. Israeli intelligence believes that it will be delivered from Iran to Sudan.

“We believe that Iranian warships anchored in Eritrea will accompany the weapons ship as soon as it will enter the Red Sea,” an Israeli source told the Times.

The Strike on Sudan: A Lesson for Iran?

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

I’ve been reading about the airstrikes in Sudan. I first read about it as part of a threat from Khartoum, that they reserve the right to strike Israel back. It was, according to the Sudanese, a foregone conclusion that Israel was responsible. My first reaction was a snicker that combined two thoughts simultaneously, “yeah, like they can reach us” and “sheesh, something explodes and they blame us.”

I stand by the first response, but retract the second one. The more I read, the more I think it could have been us – that it should have been. There were in fact two attacks – one previously that wiped out a convoy of vehicles loaded with arms for Gaza; and then last week, an arms manufacturing plant owned by Iran.

I find it rather ironic that here the Sudanese are, allowing weapons for terrorists in Gaza and Iran to be manufactured on their land, and they have the nerve to complain when the target of those weapons preemptively strikes and obliterates the factories.

One of the things I love about Elie (whose name will apparently soon be changing to Eli if I can remember to type it that way according to the preferences of the amazingly wonderful young couple…and what is wrong with Elie?…well, never mind…) – so one of the things I love about Elie is his ability to analyze, to keep up to date and digest the information he accumulates. In this case, it is part analysis and part reading the news.

One of the papers Elie read over the weekend showed two maps – a map marking the distance from Israel to Khartoum, and a map showing the distance from Israel to Iran. Significantly, the distance to Khartoum is quite a bit further and so, in this airstrike, Israel is sending another message to Iran.

Oh yes, we can hit you – and we will, if you don’t stop. We do not want war. We really truly just want to raise our children and our grandchildren in our land – and oh yes, it is our land. We were ready to share it in 1948 but you Arabs refused it. You turned down the offer of half the land in favor of war and to this day, you haven’t understood that you caused the “Middle East conflict” – not us.

Every turn of the earth bears testimony to our history in this land and promises our future. By whatever reckoning you make – history, might, right – this land is ours. It is you who came later, you who have gone to war repeatedly to take it from us instead of choosing to live here in peace.

You can choose peace and life; you can choose war and death. Whatever you choose, we have no choice but to accept your actions and deal with them. This is the lesson for Iran and the lesson for Gaza.

Last week, dozens and dozens of rockets were fired at Israel; people were badly injured, maimed by your violence. Last night more rockets, this morning four GRAD missiles were fired at Beersheva – a beautiful, quiet city in the middle of the Negev desert – where schools are canceled today because we are not willing to risk the lives of our children.

You can choose peace and life – or you will get war and death. That is the lesson Israel delivered last week in Sudan. We can reach you in Gaza; we can reach you in Sudan. We can reach you wherever you are, if the  promises you make are threats against us.

And one more thing – our patience is wearing thin. The rockets will be stopped. Four years ago, when I picked Elie up from the edges of Gaza after he’d fought in the Gaza War, he told me, “Ima, they stopped us too soon.” They stopped because Barack Obama had been elected and was coming into office in two days and Israel was feeling the pressure; knowing Obama wanted the focus on him and not a war in the Middle East.

I can only hope four years later, we are smarter. Smarter about Obama, smarter about Gaza, smarter about the Iranians. A lesson for us; a lesson for them.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Attacks on Israel and One on an Arms Factory in Sudan

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

While Americans pondered the implications of a presidential strategy involving “Big Bird, Binders, and Bayonets” over the last day and a half, things have been heating up in the Levant.

Hamas launched 68 rockets at Israel in the space of 12 hours, from the evening of 23 October to the early morning of the 24th – a sustained level of fire more consonant with a tactical offensive than with the more typical Hamas campaign of occasional “pinprick” attacks.  Most of the rockets were short-range projectiles, not susceptible to intercept by Iron Dome.  But Iron Dome intercepted 7 longer-range rockets.  Two foreign agricultural workers reportedly sustained serious injuries, and a handful of others received lighter injuries.  There was damage to some buildings.

Israeli forces took out two of the Hamas teams firing rockets from Gaza, and attacked tunnels through which weapons are smuggled.

In the early dawn of 24 October, meanwhile, an arms factory in Sudan was attacked.  The arms factory is located in the Yarmouk Industrial Complex approximately 6 miles south of central Khartoum (see map below).  Video of the exploding building makes it clear that it was an arms factory, with an extended series of powerful secondary explosions characteristic of ammunition dumps. (H/t: Challahu Akbar)  A Sudanese official claims that four Israeli aircraft conducted a strike on the factory.

Site of Yarmouk Industrial Complex south of Khartoum; Wikimapia map.

Media reporting has suggested for more than a decade that Iran set up an arms factory in Sudan in the 1990s.  (U.S. intelligence suspected a Sudanese factory of producing weaponizable chemical agents in the ‘90s, and the Sudanese government of complicity in supplying al Qaeda.  This led to a Tomahawk missile attack on the factory by Bill Clinton after the 1998 attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.  Iran was not implicated by U.S. intelligence in this installation.)  Tehran is Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir’s chief foreign patron – well suited to his penchant for atrocities against his non-Muslim population – and of course is also the main supplier of arms to Hamas and Hezbollah.

Members of the Sudanese opposition have told reporters the arms factory that was hit was Iranian-sponsored.  This is very probable, and it is equally probable that the attack was, in fact, conducted by the IAF.  Sudan to Egypt to Gaza is a known arms route, and during Operation Cast Lead in 2009, when Israeli forces were going after Hamas in the wake of more than 4400 rocket attacks from Gaza up through December 2008, two arms convoys intended for Hamas were attacked on the roads through northern Sudan. Another convoy for Hamas was reportedly attacked in Sudan in December of 2011.  (A peculiar report from early 2009 also suggested that a ship – possibly carrying arms – had been sunk in or near a Sudanese port.  While fun to analyze, the report could not be considered definitive.)

Cutting off the flow of Iranian arms to Hamas is clearly a national security interest for Israel.  The 24 October attack may or may not have been launched “because of” the rocket barrage from Hamas; it was certainly planned much earlier, but was probably executable on short notice, pending the weather conditions.  Perhaps a more reliable construction to put on the Yarmouk attack, however, is that Israel sees a need to accomplish something more definitive than interdicting convoys.  The time has come to administer a setback from which Hamas – and Iran – can’t recover quickly.

Another consideration for Israel may be that the window for unopposed action in Sudan might close in the not-too-distant future.  Getting strike-fighters into Sudan means routing them over the Red Sea and keeping an airborne tanker aloft there, with its own fighter protection.  Saudi Arabia and Jordan have the means to know the IAF aircraft are there, but they aren’t likely to interfere with Israeli attacks on Iranian arms facilities or arms bound for Hamas.

Potential path of an IAF strike package to Sudan; GraphicMaps.com map.

Egypt, however, also has the means to know the IAF aircraft are operating – and Egypt’s posture could well be changing.  Mohammed Morsi is not a naïve target for an Iranian charm offensive, but for his own reasons – Islamist ideology and his designs on Jerusalem – he will reach the point at which he will not be willing to stand by quietly for Israeli operations in Sudan.

Operation Homecoming

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

South Sudanese illegal migrant workers on their way to the airport, following action by the police immigration unit. The operation is actually dubbed “Chozrim HaBaita” (Homecoming). Give that copywriter a raise for innovation…

Estimates are that only some 1,500 South Sudanese citizens reside in Israel, compared with 35,000 infiltrators from Eritrea and 15,000 from the Sudan.

Israel cannot deport citizens of Eritrea (refugees from tyrannical state) and Sudan (enemy state, no relations). But unlike other western countries, where a process of refugee status verification is in place, in Israel government has decided to take measures ten years too late, and only after residents began to react with violence to the presence of tens of thousands of jobless Africans in their midst.

Government by shouting-the-loudest is a time-honored Israeli political tradition.

Immigration Police Round Up Sudanese for Deportation

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Israeli immigration police arrest dozens of South Sudanese illegal immigrants in Eilat on Monday morning in a raid intended to curb the influx of unauthorized entrants from Africa.

At approximately 5:00 AM, immigration police raided a neighborhood which has become known as a way station for the hundreds of migrants who breach Israeli borders from the south.  Police gave the individuals time to gather and pack their belongings before being deported.  Eight South Sudanese migrants were arrest by the Immigration Authority on Sunday.

Last week, a Jerusalem court ruled that Israel could deport South Sudanese citizens back to their country.

The Knesset on Monday will dedicate special sessions to dealing with strong Israeli reactions to violence and theft brought on by the wave of Sudanese and Eritrean illegal immigrants, in particular in South Tel Aviv and the port city of Eilat.  Discussions will include ways to deal with the various classifications of immigrants – including opportunists as well as asylum-seekers – as well as Israeli violence against the migrants sparked by public outrage at immigrant conduct.

On Sunday, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation supported a bill to punish Israelis who employ or migrants and Palestinians who are inside Israeli illegally.

Though it is difficult to estimate how many illegal immigrants from Africa are currently in Israel, Ministry of Interior estimates, as of April 2012, 59,858 Illegal immigrants who were never imprisoned in detention facilities have infiltrated into Israel.  A fraction of those are entitled to refugee status, while Eritreans – comprising a whopping 34,000 of those – will not be deported due to the opinion of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees that Eritrea has a difficult internal situation and a forced recruitment and that Eritrean immigrants should be defined as a “temporary humanitarian protection group”.

Peace Now: MKs Protesting Illegals Promoted Racism, Violence

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

The general director of Peace Now, Yariv Oppenheier, has urged Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to open a criminal investigation into MKs Miri Regev (Likud), Danny Danon (Likud), and Michael Ben-Ari (National Union), for making speeches Wednesday in Tel Aviv he says incite racism and violence.

The speeches were made to approximately 1,000 protesters in South Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighborhood, in response to a wave of illegal immigration and associated surge in crime in the area.  While some illegal immigrants have made the trek to Israel from Sudan and Eritrea to escape persecution, others have taken advantage of Israel’s high level of humanitarian aid and labor opportunities.

In her speech, Regev made comments such as “the infiltrators are a cancer in our body”, and advocated their deportation from Israel.  Twelve protesters were arrested during the event, which deteriorated into rioting.

According to local residents in south Tel Aviv, the streets have become unsafe, with women and the elderly afraid to walk outside.    On May 15, 4 Eritrean men were charged with raping a 19 year old Israeli woman in a parking lot in the area, one of several such incidents which have reportedly occurred since the area become a haven for illegal African immigrants.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/peace-now-mks-protesting-illegals-promoted-racism-violence/2012/05/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: